Public Service and Volunteering

Many of you already have some community service experience under your belts, whether you thought it would be a good asset to have come college application season, you were required to log a certain number of volunteer service hours in order to graduate from your high school, or because you simply enjoyed volunteering. We’ve come up with resources below that will help you navigate the public service and volunteering opportunities available to you on the college level and beyond, with information on how to find the volunteer position that fits your interests and the funding to support you as you pursue unpaid work, among other topics. Browse through the pages below to learn more about public service and volunteering, no matter your motivations for pursuing both.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before You Volunteer

Although most people would benefit from some aspect of volunteerism, volunteer work still isn’t for everyone. This could mean that you simply don’t have enough time to dedicate to a volunteer position, or perhaps you can’t afford to volunteer. We’ve come up with a list of questions to ask yourself before you start off on your volunteer search, and answering them as part of your research will also help you determine what kind of position you should look for.

Finding a Volunteer Position

No matter your interests, there are surely a number of volunteer positions out there that will not only make you feel fulfilled but keep you coming back. Whether you’re looking for volunteer positions based on the field of study you’d like to pursue, looking to work with a part of your community you’d like to learn more about, or simply interesting in finding a volunteer position that fits your college schedule, we’ve come up with tips on where to look and how to land that perfect volunteer gig.

Benefits of Volunteerism in College

Aside from the fact that it could be a good way to boost your resume and make yourself a more desirable job candidate post- graduation, there are a number of benefits to volunteerism in college that those even remotely interested in altruism should consider.  Volunteer positions could also put you in touch with people you may not have met outside of a volunteer position, allow you to grow as an individual, and give you experience in a field of study you're considering that you may not have gotten otherwise, among a number of other benefits.

Benefits of Volunteerism in High School

If you're midway through high school and wondering whether it'd be worth adding volunteerism to your already long list of extracurricular activities, consider the benefits.  You'll be giving your college applications a boost and impressing admissions officials, meeting new people and getting involved in an activity that not all high school students take part in, and even land some some academic credit or scholarship money for giving back.  Check out what we've come up with so far as the benefits of volunteerism in high school.  You might just find it is worth it to take part in some community service after all.

Funding for Volunteerism

If you’re wary about choosing volunteerism over a paying position while in college, consider this: community service scholarships are one of the most popular – and generous – award categories out there. Make sure you do your research before coming to a decision, because there could be funding for volunteerism out there that you haven’t yet considered that could make that decision easier.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Don’t assume that you’ll need to abandon a dream to pursue a career you love because of the student loan debt you may face as a result. There are a number of programs out there that may allow you to have some of those loans forgiven, especially if you’re entering a high-needs field or looking to move to a high-needs area after graduation. Talk to your financial aid administrator about the options open to you as far as loan forgiveness programs  before you take out any federal or private loans. Depending on your student loan eligibility, you may be able to take out only those loans that could be up for forgiveness after you’ve served several years in your desired field.

Alternatives to Employment

Whether the country is in an economic slump or you simply need some more time to decide what you’d like to do as a career after graduation, there are a number of options outside of that entry-level job if you’re flexible in terms of location and salary requirements. Graduate programs, teaching certificate assignments or volunteer opportunities are all popular post-graduation paths, so if you’re not ready to jump into the workforce, consider what else you could do to not only boost that resume, but grow as a person, as well.